Norway mass killer faces 24-hour psychiatric watch

Last Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 08:42

Oslo: Anders Behring Breivik, an anti-immigration militant who killed 77 people in a Norwegian bomb-and-gun massacre last July, is to undergo psychiatric observation 24 hours a day for up to four weeks as he prepares for his April criminal trial.

A judge overruled Breivik`s objections on Friday and permitted two court-appointed psychiatrists to set up a special observation unit at the prison where the mass killer is the only occupant of a high-security wing.

Breivik, who turns 33 on Monday, admits detonating a bomb that killed eight people at government headquarters in Oslo on July 22, then gunning down 69 others a Labour Party summer camp. He has said he targeted immigrant-friendly "traitors".

A previous psychiatric team concluded after extensive interviews that Breivik was a paranoid schizophrenic suffering from psychosis and thus unfit to serve in prison.

Breivik called that team`s report "ridiculous" at a hearing on Monday but has refused to cooperate with a second court-ordered examination by two new psychiatrists who petitioned last month to monitor him 24 hours per day.

"The court notes that the defendant so far has said he will not cooperate with the two new case experts, a fact that reinforces the need for institution-based observation," Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said in Friday`s ruling.

At issue is whether Breivik can be ordered to prison for up to 21 years or only to hospital care as a sufferer of mental illness. Under Norwegian law, a trial will take place in any case, with only the sentencing phase affected by the diagnosis.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 08:42

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